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Grady's hearing delayed

March 04, 2003|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Midway through the preliminary hearing for a man charged with kidnapping an 83-year-old woman, the accused's attorney asked for a continuance because the victim did not come to court.

Belcher Grady, 19, of Martinsburg, is charged with kidnapping, aggravated robbery and burglary in connection with the December incident. Police allege Grady forced the woman to drive to a bank, where he intended to force her to withdraw $8,000 from her bank account.

In Magistrate Harry Snow's courtroom Monday morning, Detective Sgt. George Swartwood said the victim - Dorothy Hensell, of Candi Court in Martinsburg - had been subpoenaed but could not come to court. She recently had knee surgery and was not able to move around much, Swartwood said.

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Upon hearing that, Grady's attorney, David Downes, asked for a continuance, saying he needed to speak to Hensell, whom he said is "a crucial witness."

Berkeley County Prosecutor Pamela Games-Neely suggested that a videotaped statement Hensell gave to police be played, but Downes said that was not acceptable because he was not present when the statement was taken.

Snow told Downes he could reschedule the hearing, but it may not be until April or later. Downes said that would be acceptable. In the meantime, Downes said he intends to appear before a Circuit Court judge to try to get bail for Grady.

Grady was being held in Eastern Regional Jail without bail because kidnapping is a capital offense.

On Dec. 13, 2002, an intruder forced his way into Hensell's home and demanded money. Hensell handed over $500 after her life was threatened, records allege.

Court records allege then Grady forced Hensell to drive to the drive-through at the BB&T bank on Queen Street. There, Hensell whispered to a teller that she was in trouble, but Grady heard her and forced her to drive away, then jumped out of Hensell's car and ran, according to court records.

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